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When Brian began discoursing again, we were forced to open another bar tab after just having closed one out. It isn’t the first time we’ve had to do this, but with a sense of duty we gladly did so once again on IRR’s account. Wouldn’t miss the rest of BC‘s remarks on oval racing’s decline for the world.
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“A second thing to think about is the content – or lack thereof – at many of the IndyCar oval events. Pocono, for example, had an eight car Indy Lights race on a 2.5-mile track as the support event. Where’s the value for the paying customer there? Fontana had a vintage IndyCar showcase as the only support event. I love vintage cars, but that’s not giving the paying customer much bang for the buck.”
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Yet more controversy from Mr. Carroccio – we were absolutely loving it. So much so in fact that we ordered him another White Russian, along with another round for ourselves. Such truth telling deserved a reward, we rationalized. These drinks like all the others went on IRR’s tab.
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“Compare that to say Long Beach, which has IndyCar, Lights, Pro Mazda, Tudor, Stadium Super Trucks, beer gardens, concerts, a celebrity race, palm trees, the glitterati, the Pacific Ocean, world class restaurants, and whatever else. Granted, they have a few decades of built-in equity but is it any wonder the place is packed every year?”
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More sound points that proved hard to argue with; at least no one in the bar room tried. BC was on a roll of prescience and everyone there knew it. As his drink arrived, he raised his glass in our direction and continued his compelling circular compendium.
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First he implicated NASCAR in the decline of IndyCar oval racing and now he’d argued strongly in favor of IndyCar fans. Unthinkable, we thought. It was becoming obvious why we love this guy so much. His biases and adoration for Andretti aside, Carroccio was delivering a stem-winder of a speech.
“To wrap up, until either the series takes an equity stake in racing facilities or expands its promotional efforts to a point where the events can become more successful, the series’ options on ovals are going to be sadly, limited.”
Looking around the crowded bar, every single person was fixated on Brian and his sermon. BC’s heartfelt words had moved them, or at least gotten them to thinking. As he sat down we quickly stood up, toasted our speaker’s efforts and then chimed in with a few thoughts of our own. We couldn’t let the weight his comments carried with the surprisingly receptive audience go for naught.
“Now, how about some solutions to these problems? Eliminating the first issue identified by Brian, the NASCAR-controlled tracks problem, is very simple. We go to war and destroy NASCAR.”
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The stunned crowd sat silent at first, no doubt jarred by the sudden change in speakers and in tone. After a few seconds seeming like hours had passed, some giggles immediately led to a rush of laughter in the bar room. Once the guffaws subsided, we set out our vision for reviving oval racing.
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“But seriously, new ovals need to be built. These venues need to be destination tracks – in North America and around the globe – in attractive places providing a wide array of activities. Let us recommend locales other than Brazil for starters. Places such as Colombia, the Pacific northwest, and Florida all need new oval tracks for the 21st century. Europe and Asia should be included in this plan, as well. To hell with Billionaire Bernie!”
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The group enjoyed the last remark immensely, with some even raising their glasses to our irreverence toward Ecclestone. As we laid out our ideas and played off of Brian’s riff and momentum, the crowd remained engaged and seemed to like what they were hearing. Whether this was the alcohol consumption combined with the late hour or the influence of our ideas upon the crowd we were detecting, it didn’t matter. We ran with it.
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“This bold plan requires leadership from IndyCar, which is sorely lacking at present. But let’s assume some develops. These new destination ovals would be expressly designed for IndyCars, could host multiple events per year and offer the festival atmosphere Brian mentioned. This takes care of the business model problem too, if executed properly and with IndyCar partnering with the interested states and countries. Most of all, brilliant new tracks with all the latest amenities would give the paying customers – the fans – what they want. That is, two hundred-plus mile an hour wheel to wheel racing on attractive, modern oval tracks.”
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Finished with our brief remarks, we took a seat, ordered a final round and allowed Brian’s ideas and our own to marinate with our inebriated though attentive audience. Clearly Brian’s arguments rang true, pointing out the inadequacy of IndyCar’s status quo. Our follow-on ideas may be mere alcohol induced fantasies, but at least they’re a positive alternative to doing nothing. IndyCar oval racing truly needs to undergo a reformation, before it’s too late.